Page last updated at 10:44 GMT, Tuesday, 16 September 2008 11:44 UK

Eleven dead in fresh Gaza clashes

Hamas security forces
Hamas security forces last clashed with clansmen in July and August

Officials in the Gaza Strip say at least 11 people have been killed in a gun battle between Hamas security forces and a powerful local clan.

Fighting broke out after Hamas forces surrounded the Doghmush clan stronghold in Gaza City's Sabra area.

One of their troops was killed in the same area on Monday during an arrest raid targeting the Doghmush clan.

It appears to be the worst intra-Palestinian violence since Hamas clashed with a pro-Fatah clan in July.

A fierce gun battle took place in the crowded area of Gaza, with machine-gun fire and explosions audible around the city, witnesses said.

The Doghmush are widely feared in Gaza, with some elements said to have links with both criminal and extremist jihad activity.

Members of the clan were responsible for kidnapping the BBC's correspondent in Gaza, Alan Johnston, in 2007.

One report said the 11 dead included two bystanders, one of them a young boy, one Hamas policeman and eight members of the Doghmush family. Forty people were reported wounded.

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